Wingstop CEO touts falling chicken wing prices, company benefitting from deflation

Chicken wing fanatics may have something to rejoice about.

Wingstop CEO Michael Skipworth told analysts during an earnings call Thursday that the company is experiencing deflation as bone-in chicken wings costs normalize from unusually high levels in 2021.

In fact, the multinational chain of aviation-themed restaurants reported that the cost of bone-in chicken wings plummeted 18.8% last quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

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Skipworth claims the company is one of the only brands benefiting from “meaningful commodity deflation” while the rest of the industry battles record high inflation, which rose to 9.1% in June.

Wingstop reported that its total revenue climbed 13.2% to $83.8 million during the three-month period ending on June 25. System-wide sales increased 7.5% to $633.6 million during the same period. Profit rose 17.6% to $13.3 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, from $11.3 million, or 38 cents, in the prior year quarter.

chicken wings

A plate of buffalo style chicken wings with celery and blue cheese with a beer on a bar or restaurant table. (iStock / iStock)

“We navigated record wing inflation in 2021 and our brand partners took the appropriate level of pricing that year to navigate that inflation and manage margins,” Skipworth said.

Wingstop says it’s encouraged by the deflation it is seeing with chicken wings. Still, chicken prices industry-wide have increased, like most other goods, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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The index, which is a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, indicated that poultry rose 17.3% in June compared to a year ago. Chicken, in particular, rose 18.6%.

ticker Security load Change change %
WING WINGSTOP INC 124.50 +4.70 +3.92%
TSN TYSON FOODS INC. 87.20 +1.52 +1.77%

Earlier this week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) even increased its forecast for wholesale poultry prices after seeing a spike in prices between May and June due to high energy, feed and labor costs.

The USDA predicts prices will increase between 26% and 29% in 2022.

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Tyson Foods — the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork — even raised its fiscal 2022 revenue outlook as customer demand for its chicken, beef and port continue to outpace supply and prices rise due to inflation.

To combat this pressure, Tyson has passed on some burden to consumers in the form of price increases.

FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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